Govt drafts Action Plan on 'scientific land reform'
KATHMANDU, April 23: The government has drafted an action plan that aims to reform and manage lands in a "scientific" way to implement the commitment of political parties in the Comprehensive Peace Accord of 2006.
The Action Plan 2012, prepared on the basis of the recommendations of two previous commissions on land reforms, hopes to minimize unequal distribution of lands and put in a new policy on tenancy and ownership rights.
Officials estimate around Rs 50 billion will be required to implement the plan which was prepared five years after the signing of the epoch-making peace deal of 2006.
“We have forwarded the Action Plan to the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Law and Justice for their necessary consent,” said Minister for Land Reforms and Management (MoLRM) Bhim Prasad Gautam. “The MoLRM will soon send the Action Plan to the cabinet for endorsement.”
Spokesperson of the MoLRM Krishna Bahadur Raut said the Action Plan has made a 13-point recommendation based on reports submitted by two separate High Level Scientific Land Reforms Commissions headed by Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel and by CPN-UML leader Ghanendra Basnet.
According the plan, the state will set up a land bank where willing landowners and buyers can deposit and buy lands respectively. It will also compensate people whose land were seized by the government for holding land over the ceiling fixed by the law. Similarly it will sell land to landless people who are required to make the payment over a certain time frame. The Action Plan also aims to manage assets and lands owned across the country by Guthi (trusts).
The Action Plan has made recommendation to the government to formulate and implement a national land use policy and land policy so that the scientific land reforms and management can be set in place on a long-term basis.
Similarly, the Action Plan has suggested the government to manage the land usage and put fallow lands to productive use. It also calls on the government to preserve state owned and public lands across the country.
The Action Plan proposes to allow foreign companies to own land in Nepal for industrial and business purpose but bans on selling to individuals.
Under the title ´Land Administration and Management´ the Action Plan has suggested legal and judicial reforms, administrative and technological reforms.
There will be different land taxes as per the classification of lands on the basis of its usages, according to the Action Plan.
“Once the Action Plan is endorsed by a cabinet meeting the government will form a taskforce on data collection regarding lands,” said Gautam, adding, “Then, the government will work for ceiling on lands.”
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had formed 10 members High Level Scientific Land Reforms Commission headed by Gajurel on 10 December, 2008. After his government collapsed, Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government had formed 12 members commission headed by Basnet on 7 October, 2009.
As none of reports were implemented the present government formed a seven member committee headed by Minister for Land Reforms and Management on 21 December, 2011to draft Action Plan to implement the recommendations made by Gajurel and Basnet Commissions.